Swamped Chapter 18 Page 17

“Doc, I see here that we’ve got two severe cases…” you start to explain, but she promptly turns to Starling.

“Starling, you were involved in that mess, weren’t you? How are you holding up? I recall you needed more than a few bandages after your last fight.”

“I’m all right. I only had to keep Rotmouth’s legs pinned. She kicked me a few times, but Corvus knocked her out fast enough. Might be some bruises, but nothing that really hurts.”

You’re not even sure what to say. How can she just ignore you like this?

“Good.” Doc writes something down. “And are you keeping up with your exercises?”

“Well, I do sparring with Rivers for about half-an-hour each day, but I have trouble remembering to do the other exercises.”

“Wait, hang on, what exercises are these?” you ask. “Did anyone else get assigned them?”

Doc doesn’t even give you a glare.

“Thought so. At least Rivers seems to be taking my fitness advice seriously. Though you really shouldn’t spar with just one partner – it’s important to learn to counter a varied range of techniques. You should at least be getting in sessions with the rest of your squad.”

“I wanted to do that, but we’ve been busier than usual this last week,” you say. “Thanks to all the troops sick from the poison. Which I’d like to talk to you about.”

“Er, Doc,” Starling says nervously. “Why aren’t you saying anything to Corvus?”

“Because the fool’s injured his head. Wouldn’t want him to strain himself thinking harder than usual.”

“Very funny. Look, Doc, I’m really concerned about this poison. And not just because it’s meant a bigger workload. I’ve been looking over what you told Mudviper, and…”

“You mean she delegated that to you?” Doc asks incredulously. “And here I thought someone was actually taking it seriously. Should have known better.”

“Now hold on!” Starling interjects. “I know Corvus doesn’t have the best reputation, but I’ve never seen him abandon an assignment. You should listen to what he’s asking, at least.”

“Hmmph. It’s not his reputation that’s the problem here; I’ve known him longer than you have. And that’s why I know that I don’t have time to waste with his inane questions.”

Oh, that’s it. You didn’t read through this report just to have her brush you off. She doesn’t think you’re taking this seriously? Well, you’ll just have to show her otherwise.

You need to say something that shows just how much attention you’ve been paying to this subject. Some question or observation that she’s not likely to have considered.

So what are you going to say?

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all of it, and very fast, with no pauses in the event of interruption


Like how the number of poison cases has been coming in spikes, apparently during the warmest times of the day, and how the most recent cases were marshguards close to the blast of flame Long made when he battled rider.

Or maybe how the cases didn’t start until after we renewed foraging missions after the unexpected rain.

Or maybe how the least affected group are the support staff that rarely leave the base.

Or maybe how the netting fungus used in the masks smells like cinnamon now, did marsh-net always smell like sand and cinnamon?

Also why do you suddenly feel like shit – and not in the emotional, self-deprecating way you were expecting coming to talk to Doc but in a massive-hangover-headache all over your body wow that floor is moving up fast.